The Mini Vision Next 100 concept has been revealed to celebrate BMW’s 100th year. Unveiled today in London, the car previews key design and technology features that are expected to become part of future Mini production vehicles.
Developed around the motto “Every Mini is my Mini”, the main idea behind the concept is about car-sharing and personal mobility. Driving in the future will be about “connected digital intelligence”, say the designers.
As such, the car is able to pick drivers up autonomously from any given location, while parts of the exterior surfaces transform to suit the driver’s personal lifestyle ahead of arrival. As well as transmitting images on and across its body panels, the car also projects graphics onto the ground surrounding its footprint.
Between journeys, the car self-drives to a service hub, where it’s cleaned and recharged, before driving off to meet another driver.
“With the design of the vision vehicle we wanted to create a car that is based around your urban life. So the car is part of your life, the way it sits in the streets, the way it basically is ever present, but it’s also part of other people’s lives,” says Mini design boss, Anders Warming. “That means it’s part of a sharing community and its part of the way you move from A to B but still makes best use of time and space going from A to B. Well in 2035, the way I see Mini in the future is equally emotional to today’s product, but even more part of our daily needs.”
With a body described as being “not so far removed from the first Mini back in 1959”, the vision car measures 3620 mm long, making it 560 mm longer than the original Mini but 270 mm shorter than the current road-going Mini hatchback. The designers say a zero-emission drive system and the reduced need for crash zones in the future will enable a compactness of body.
Stylistically, the car takes on a homogeneous, one box silhouette shape with a frontal design that is marked by a transparent windscreen-come-bonnet which leads down and forwards into graphics mimicking Mini’s classic hexagonal grille and round headlamps. At the back, a full-width, slim-line LED tail lamp also doubles as a rear spoiler.
On the inside, the so-called “Cooperiser” takes centre-stage. A coloured translucent circular instrument cluster, it communicates with the driver through dynamic changes in colour.
The driver is also able to access the car from either side, and is further able to transition from autonomous driving to manual driving mode by simply dragging the steering wheel from the central position to whichever side of the cabin he/she is seated on.
Other features include a single-section bench seat and a full-width footwell in what is effectively a minimalist interior design.